Grand Valley woman faces felony charges

A Grand Valley woman faces felony theft charges after police allege she misappropriated over $17,000 worth of funds from the Jefferson Defrees Family Center (JDFC).

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Michelle Suzanne Kitchen, 54, of Grand Valley, was charged with theft by deception — false impression, theft by unlawful taking, and receiving stolen property following her three year employment at the nonprofit agency.

Detectives state that city officers were dispatched to a reported theft on July 28 of this year, which said that a former employee responsible for accounting “had taken moneys during the time period of May 1, 2014 through April 30, 2017.

The affidavit states that the JDFC hired a certified public accounting firm to conduct a forensic audit of its records, comparing them to money taken in from babysitting, fingerprinting, and other services offered there.

The audit revealed, according to police, that “while the defendant was responsible for the record keeping and auditing of the funds taken in during her three plus years of employment, that there was a total of $17,923.75 missing.”

A total of 131 findings of misappropriation were listed according to the firm’s audit, “and it appeared the ledgers were manipulated to cover the theft.”

Detectives interviewed staff and Kitchen, according to the affidavit, and during the course of interviewing Kitchen “stated that she never took any money while employed at the facility, but then admitted that she paid moneys in the amount of $1,300 for a missing deposit.” Kitchen was arraigned on Thursday, Dec. 7 before District Justice Glen Carlson, and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 10, according to online court documents. She is being held in the Warren County Jail on $25,000 bail.